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sabato 13 aprile 2013
Audrie Pott Suicide: 3 Boys Arrested in Connection with Rape of 15-Year-Old California Girl
Three northern California teens have been arrested on charges they gang-raped a 15-year-old girl who then killed herself after photos of the alleged attack went viral.
Audrie Pott, a student at Saratoga High School in Saratoga, Santa Clara County, killed herself last September 10, eight days after she was allegedly raped by three boys who are now 16 years old.
Pott was attending a house party thrown by a girl from her school whose parents were out of town in Napa. Pott arrived early and got so drunk that she passed out before her alleged attackers arrived at the home.
“It was one of those things where she was thinking that she was safe and secure but she was not,” family attorney Robert Allard told the San Jose Mercury News.
At least one of the teens who is accused of raping Pott took cell phone photos of the alleged crime, and it was only a matter of time before the images “spread like wildfire,” according to Allard.
“Poor Audrie was terrorized by cyberbullying,” the attorney told the Mercury News.
Pott posted on Facebook that the night of the party was “the worst day of her life.” Days later, she hanged herself.
“The family has been trying to understand why their loving daughter would have taken her life at such a young age and make sure that those responsible would be held accountable,” Allard told the Associated Press.
“After an extensive investigation that we have conducted on behalf of the family, there is no doubt in our minds that the victim, then only 15 years old, was savagely assaulted by her fellow high school students while she lay on a bed completely unconscious.”
Police arrested the three boys seven months after Potts killed herself. Santa Clara County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jose Cardoza told reporters that the boys, all Saratoga High students at the time of the alleged attack, have been booked into a juvenile detention facility and charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses.
As Pott’s family struggles to cope with their loss, the girl’s father and stepmother, Lawrence and Lisa Pott, along with her mother Sheila Pott, have established the Audrie Pott Foundation to provide students with music and art scholarships and to offer counseling and support. The foundation’s website says that Pott was a gifted pianist and viola player who also loved singing. She was also an accomplished soccer player.
“She was compassionate about life, her friends, her family and would never do anything to harm anyone,” the site says. “She was in the process of developing the ability to cope with the cruelty of this world but had not quite figured it all out.”
Pott’s parents also say they want her case to become the catalyst for legislation bearing their daughter’s name.
“Audrie’s Law would address some of the things that happened here,” Allard told the Mercury News. “There are two common elements here that are being repeated across the country– sexual assault by an adolescent and the cyberbullying that follows.”
The arrests in the Pott case come a week after a Canadian girl, 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons, killed herself in Halifax after allegedly being gang-raped by four boys, then mercilessly bullied by her peers after photos of the attack were circulated around her school and community.